10 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Payment Service Provider

Your payment service provider greatly impacts your sales growth, security, reputation, and more. Learn how to choose the right option in this article.

There is an overwhelming list of options when it comes to choosing a payment service provider. With a variety of solutions and providers at your disposal, it can be hard to know what’s best for your company – even if you already have years of experience in business.

The payment service provider you choose will act as an important element of your business. Choose the right option, and you can use your payment solution to beat the competition and boost growth. Here’s a list of questions to guide you to make the best choice for your business.


Why Is It Important to Choose the Right Payment Service Provider?

Every business is different, so what you need from a payment service provider is likely different than what your neighbor needs. Since each payment service provider has a slightly different offering, you’ll need to do some research to find the best option. 

Shoppers interact with your payment service provider at the most important part of the customer journey: when they’re converting into paying customers. If you fail to meet their needs, it can result in lost sales. Worse still, a poor checkout experience can affect your reputation and drive away new customers.

Your payment service provider also determines your ability to scale. The right option can make the process easy, while the wrong choice could hold you back from growing. Plus, there’s a cost associated with each payment service provider. You’ll need to compare the benefits of each provider to the fees and costs associated. 

10 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Payment Service Provider

1. How Fast and Flexible Is the Setup Process?

Your customers interact with your payment service provider on your checkout page – but they don’t necessarily know that. Your checkout page should look and feel like the rest of your website, providing a seamless and secure experience for shoppers. The more you can customize it, the more you can improve your customer journey and increase conversions

It’s important to ask how much you can customize your checkout page and whether you’ll need a developer to do the job. For example, with Pay.com, you can customize a premade checkout page or integrate with our API to add hosted payment fields directly to your website. 

2. What Payment Methods Are Available?

The simplicity of transactions is critical for converting browsers into paying customers. One way to make transactions feel easier for customers? Offering their preferred payment methods. Customers may see a lack of payment options as a barrier, while multiple payment methods can make the checkout process seem easy. 

Check that the payment service provider you’re considering allows you to accept a variety of payment methods. It’s especially important to accept those that are popular with your target market. This can help you make more sales, improve customer experience, and increase customer loyalty.

3. What Does the Onboarding Process Look Like?

You’ll run into a different onboarding process with every payment system, but there is a clear distinction between legacy payment systems and cloud-based payment service providers. The former typically requires a more complicated set-up process, as well as training, that can take days or even weeks. Meanwhile, the latter often allows you to get set up in minutes.

Payment service providers usually require that you create an account and submit supporting documents to get started. While more traditional legacy systems need time to approve and train you, cloud-based providers can approve you in minutes and provide intuitive systems that don’t require training. Consider how important speed is for your business to help you make the right choice.

4. How Much Does It Cost?

There’s a cost associated with any payment system you choose. It’s important to get details about each provider’s pricing model, as fees can vary. Then, you should compare the total cost to the features and quality of service you get in exchange.

Some providers have hidden costs, so be sure to ask what, if any, one-off or monthly fees you should expect. Does the provider charge a subscription fee or a flat fee? For example, Pay.com has a transparent rate structure, with a flat, per-transaction pricing model. 

You should also ask if the provider charges for unsuccessful transactions. To get a full understanding of a provider’s pricing, you may also ask about the cost of international transactions, currency conversions, and chargebacks.

5. What Markets Does the Service Provider Specialize In?

Some payment service providers specialize in certain markets. For example, some are better for ecommerce while others are best for brick-and-mortar stores. Some providers can offer special payment insights for certain segments of the population, while others specialize by country. 

Check that your provider can support your target market. They can typically provide you with approval ratios by country to give you a better understanding of which markets they serve. It’s also important to consider what countries you may want to expand into if you plan on scaling soon.

Pay.com provides global payment processing services, allowing you to accept payments from anywhere in the world.

6. How Are Transactions Secured?

A reliable payment service provider can take transaction security off your plate almost entirely. To ensure that you avoid data breaches and protect your customers’ payment information, your provider should use encryption and tokenization. It should also maintain PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliance so that you don’t have to.

Additional security measures, like two-factor authentication, can also help you avoid fraud. For example, Pay.com supports 3DS2 (3D Secure 2.0). This allows our system to scan each transaction for red flags and put potentially fraudulent transactions through a security challenge with very little friction for the customer. This helps your business avoid chargeback fees.

7. What Reporting Does the Service Provider Offer?

You likely lean heavily on data to make important business decisions. Your provider can generate various reports to give you more information about what you sell, transaction speed, approval and decline rates, and more. This reporting can help you plan your business needs and operations.

Check with your potential payment service providers to see what reporting they offer. What transaction information can they provide? How detailed is the data? How quickly do you get access to it? An easy way to answer these questions is to get a demo of the service provider’s reporting dashboard. 

8. Will It Work With Other Software or Platforms?

If you sell online, you likely already have a variety of software and tools that you use to provide an excellent customer experience and keep everything running smoothly. Your payment solution will need to interact with these platforms. Check that the payment gateway will easily integrate with your ecommerce platform. 

The same goes for any other software or hardware you use that may interact with your payment service provider. You can also ask whether the payment service provider is provider agnostic - meaning, can it easily integrate with any other system? Providers that offer this level of flexibility are usually the best long-term solution.

9. Will It Help Me Scale My Business?

If you’re looking to grow your business, your payment system will need to be able to grow with you. There are a few ways it can help you scale. First, you’ll need to be able to add a variety of payment methods as you enter new markets. Ask your potential service provider what payment methods you can accept and how easily you can add them.

Next, your provider must also be able to support expansion geographically. If it can’t serve international markets, you won’t be able to scale. Verify that the provider can offer services in the countries you want to expand into. It’s also worth asking how the provider handles increased sales volume. Are there added fees?

Lastly, it’s important to consider reliability. How resilient is your prospective payment system? What’s its uptime? A higher uptime means a lower chance of your payment service crashing during high sales volume. Your system needs to be able to handle a growing number of transactions in order to scale.

10. What Level of Support Does It Offer?

No matter how good your payment system is, there’s always a chance that you’ll run into issues. For example, you might have a problem with duplicate transactions or run into an error when issuing a refund. In these instances, your service provider’s customer success team is critical. If you fail to resolve issues quickly, you can lose sales or take hits to your reputation. 

Check that you’ll have access to a live customer service team – not just a chatbot. Even better, ask if you’ll have a dedicated team to take care of these kinds of issues. Find out what their customer support hours are and how fast their response time is. 

The Benefits of Working with Pay.com as Your Payment Service Provider 

If improving your payment system is a business priority, consider choosing Pay.com. Our system makes it easy to scale - in fact, you can add payment methods with the click of a button. 

Getting started is easy. You can onboard in as little as 15 minutes. Then, customize a premade checkout page or use our developer-friendly APIs to add hosted payment fields to your website or app. 

From there, you can start accepting secure payments. Our system tokenizes all credit card details in transit. Pay.com takes on the burden of maintaining Level 1 PCI DSS compliance so you can focus on your business. 

With Pay.com’s transparent fee structure, you’re never left with a surprise bill at the end of the month. You pay a simple, flat, per-transaction fee. Easily track transactions, check payment status, issue refunds, and more via the user-friendly Pay Dashboard. Plus, get access to customer insights and in-depth reporting. 

Click here to create your Pay.com account now!

The Bottom Line

Choosing the right payment service provider is key to your business's success. Your payment solution is a critical touchpoint between you and your customers. A good payment system can help you advance into new markets, grow your customer loyalty, protect sensitive information, and much more.

With so many providers on the market, it can be hard to sift through the options and weigh the pros and cons. Instead, consider the above questions and make a decision from there. If you need a solution that covers all the elements discussed above, be sure to check out Pay.com

Click here to get started now!


What's the best way for a business to accept online payments?

Pay.com is the simplest way to accept online payments, including credit cards, bank transfers, digital wallets, and more. You can get onboarded and set up a custom checkout page using developer-friendly APIs quickly. 

From there, the Pay.com system does the rest! You can expect a smooth checkout experience to increase sales, lower cart abandonment rates, and boost profit.

Click here to find out how you can get started!

How do I choose a payment service provider?

To choose a payment service provider, you should first consider your needs. What do you like or dislike about your current provider? What are your business goals? You can then use this information to determine what provider is best for you.

What are the key factors to consider when choosing a payment service provider?

When deciding on a payment service provider, it’s most important to consider scalability. The provider should offer a variety of payment methods, support new markets, and be reliable enough to allow you to increase your transaction volume. It should also provide security features to protect you and your customers.

What is the most popular payment method?

Credit and debit cards still remain the most popular payment method, thanks to their security and ease of use. However, digital wallets and ACH transfers are also gaining popularity.

Meet the author
Ginny Dorn
Ginny Dorn is a finance and business copywriter specializing in credit card processing and fintech. She graduated from Western Illinois University with a bachelor's degree in family and consumer sciences.
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